Laparoscopic Colon Resection for Cancer

A colon resection, also known as a colectomy, is a surgical procedure to remove either part of or all of the large intestine (the colon). It is used to treat both benign and malignant tumors, and is usually effective in stopping the spread of colon cancer. A colon resection is often performed using laparoscopic surgery. Often referred to as minimally invasive surgery, laparoscopic surgery is used primarily to treat early-stage cancers.

Laparoscopic Colon Resection Procedure

A laparoscopic colon resection requires three to six small incisions in the abdomen for the insertion of a laparoscope, a long flexible tube that has a small video camera on the end, and other small surgical instruments. The video camera provides magnified, high-definition images that the surgeon uses as guides in performing the procedure. To improve the visual field, the abdomen is inflated with gas. Depending on a patient's individual condition, all or a portion of the colon, as well as lymph nodes and a margin of surrounding healthy tissue, will be removed. If only a portion of the colon is removed, the resultant ends will be stitched together.

Advantages of Laparoscopic Colon Resection

Although a colon resection can be performed in a traditional open-surgery procedure, many patients now undergo laparoscopic treatment. Advantages of a laparoscopic colon resection compared to traditional colon resection include:

  • Smaller incisions
  • Less scarring
  • Shorter recovery time
  • Less bleeding

Laparoscopic resection is considered a suitable procedure for curable colorectal malignancies.

Risks of Laparoscopic Colon Resection

Risks from any kind of laparoscopic procedure are fewer than the risks of open surgery. They do exist, however, and include:

  • Infection
  • Excessive bleeding from the incisions
  • Damage to an organ or blood vessel
  • Allergic reaction to medications or anesthesia

Laparoscopic colon resection involves a steep learning curve for the surgeon who will perform it. Both the surgeon and operating room staff need to be thoroughly trained in the procedure to minimize additional risks to the patient.

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